My beret was damp with rainwater. Something about the rain today makes it sharp, prickly against my skin, like shards of glass. An angry lover has thrown a bouquet of pink roses on the floor, all its thorns falling down in a melody. I did not think of the umbrella in my bag as I walked from the driveway to the door. I place my hat in a watery choice on the coffee table. The eyes in the oil-painting we bought for our hall look numb. They seem to be looking away, outside, at the ice plants that smile like death.
I turn right, and walk upstairs. The sound of your music plays with my footsteps. I picture your hands moving like liquid from one key to the next, and in the spaces, something fills like a flower blooming in slow-motion. On the podium, I pause to brush my fingers on window. But the raindrops race and I quicken my step when your song grows louder. The attic’s green door is open, and your ghost sits on a stool by the piano. Your grey eyes turn to me, full of tears that refuse to cry, as if all the rain in the sky was here, in this grey room, between us, and if I touched you, it will all disappear.
I pull a chair and sit down opposite, fold my hands on the lid and place my chin on my arms as I listen to you stop at a crescendo, and then softly, play on, a song of life after love. I have left no wet footprints on the stairway, the house is cold like before. Nothing can tell if I was here, and for a while, you were too.
You still have a moustache of chocolate foam above your lips
So we fumble a little at the door
Before I peck your cheek in a goodbye kiss.
I rush to the balcony to look at you again
You hadn’t turned to the mirror in the elevator
It’s five past nine, and you are running late.
You squint your eyes and look outside the window, trying to discern if it’s snowing against the bedsheet white sky, or whether all of this is a passing illusion and you still haven’t quite woken up.
You look down at the swatches of grass and the cement of the roads for a sign that will give it away, for settling clouds,
but snow falls like whispers, kisses from a secret lover, full apples dropped from a tree that smash against the earth and turn unrecognisable the next second,
it’s already being pinned under walking boots and seeping into the fine geometric lines on the pavement,
In some lives, you are slow, as you watch the watercolour spill softly across the grass. Turning from blue to white, then meeting pink and red pools and quickly quilled into flowers.
On other days, hurrying, a paraphernalia about to turn into a painting waits spread across the living room floor. You leave violet fingerprints on the knob as you leave home.
You bring your minute,
And I’ll bring mine
Let’s share another joke,
While we have a little time
We can drink our ciders slowly,
And study the falling snow
Sit here a while longer,
With a few moments more.
The shadow of a roof on a wall with chipping paint
one house has a chimney and the other has a tree behind it
washing hangs on a clothesline
seen in a mirror of a home where no one lives
a creeper grows flowers
smooching from one balcony to a terrace in the shade
When you walk out of a forest, you turn into a tree. No longer human and made of skin. Your arms are barks, your legs are stems and you must let birds sit and chirp on them all day long. Before you notice, like wrinkles, your leaves will age. Like rings, years will settle in the iris of your hazel eyes.
And when you reach the city you can try to hide, camouflage yourself between the skyscrapers that rush past your neck, fit yourself between two grey towers, a little space on the pavement, on a hillock in a community park. But you will still swing with the wind, shed leaves in autumn and dress roads with your blood oranges. Your branches will spread, and the world will know where you’ve been.
There is no hiding it. You are a tree now.
And you must grow towards the sunlight until you catch fire and burn.
I spent all our nights
Searching your iridescent scarf
For constellations that weave together
Our distanced stars
I hope you turn this postcard over after it has sat on the lip of your door for a few days. Give this a chance. If you are here, and before you go, I must say I love and miss you more than I can bear. I keep imagining what you must look like now. I have a photo of you as a baby that I wear in my locket, and I look at it often, picturing those big round brown eyes on an older face, with a lady’s nose. I know you must smile beautifully. Are you tall? I think so.
I don’t want to take much time, you must have so much keeping you occupied. I just wanted to send you an old recipe I have kept safe. My mother made blinis for us every Saturday morning, and we ate them very happily in the sun. They are a big favourite among children, your kids would like them. It goes very well with cream, or salmon, if you like fish. I think you do.
That was all really. Maybe you could call someday. Or visit. They allow us to meet visitors every Wednesday between four and five in the evening. Don’t worry, I will not ask you to write back. But know that you I remember you everyday. If you ever do make blinis, I hope you find pieces of my love in them.